SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel more at ease when they are up in the sky, Syracuse Regional Airport Authority has partnered with the ARC of Onondaga and United Airlines to hold this year’s edition of Wings for All event.

The flight crew at United Airlines gave a warm welcome to families at the event held on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport.

“I was pretty excited,” said James Hayes of Syracuse.

Pretty excited to board a plane. It’s something 9-year-old Hayes hasn’t done since he was a baby. His older sister, Ally, was right by his side.

“I guess just really excited about this, and it will definitely be something beneficial,” said Ally.

“With having a son with autism and my daughter has type one diabetes, I thought this is a great trial run just to kind of go through what it’s like,” said Jacinta Ramczyk, mom of Ally and James Hayes.

And that trial run sure feels real, with more than 20 families arriving at Hancock Airport in the morning. From getting their boarding pass at the ticket counter to going through airport security, to boarding an aircraft., it’s all part of the ARC’s Wings for All national program, giving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to see and feel what it’s like to travel.

“I thought this would be great because I do want to take them to California sometime to see family, so that’s a long flight,” said Ramczyk.

For Betty Cardozo and her son, Sebastian, they had a long drive to Syracuse. The family traveled from Queens, New York, all the way to Syracuse Hancock International Airport on Saturday morning.

“I am always looking for things for him to experience. I like to challenge him, and he has trouble going on a plane,” said Betty Cardozo.

Cardozo said years ago, she took Sebastian to the Wings for All event in Boston. The first experience did not go too well, but Cardozo is hopeful this time around will be much better.

More information about Wings for All can be found HERE.